Week 7- Life writing blog/ short memoir

From this module Writers on Writing I have further developed my knowledge on drama and script, creative writing and forms of writing. I have enjoyed discovering various forms of writing including free verse, beat poetry and life writing rather than what I have frequently learned about at school, college and in other modules- traditional writing such as novels and poems that adhere to strict forms.

I have learned the importance of creative freedom and thought, how sometimes it is possible to allow thoughts to flow onto the page and become a piece, rather than following conventions of typical pieces where structure may be valued over content. Going forward I can see myself practicing these styles of writing academically and also in my free time for pleasure.

I have especially enjoyed learning about the beat poets and the beat generation and also the more realistic life writing and stories, as I am used to more romanticism and sonnets etc. Additionally, I look forward to what the next modules may hold, as some I struggle with and some I enjoy. The creative modules seem to be where I struggle more than the traditional literature based ones, as I am less experienced in learning about these. I also find it much easier to write essays than blogs as the word count is much smaller, by time you get into the writing the task is finished.

Week 6- How much of the self is invested in fiction…

Writers use both fiction and non-fiction within work depending on various factors such as the mode, genre, audience and purpose of the piece. The audience and purpose may sway whether the writer decides to use fiction or non fiction and within stories and life writing how much of the self is invested in fiction. Fictional techniques are used by life writers such as in the novels “Union Street” by Pat Barker and “Ham on Rye” by Charles Bukowski.

In Union Street especially, Barker draws on non-fiction, realistic elements of the area of Middlesbrough concerned, Union Street. As this is an area close to where I live myself, some of the information can be easily detected as fictional or realistic. Barker has interpreted the area and created stories within the novel for characters, whilst also discussing the real problems with the area.

As a life writer she is able to do this with ease, rather than in a traditional novel which would not allow for creative freedom and realism even when in relation to realistic elements of life. Regardless of how unfortunate and shocking these may be, especially to readers who were not already aware  of Union Street and the situations individuals are faced with that are connected to this area, including prostitution. This novel is a perfect example of how stories can contain both fictional and realistic elements in the same place.

The truth behind Union Street of prostitution is disturbing yet shone a light on here. Yet it is somewhat glorified which I can only assume is done by the writer for the purpose of the readers in making it a more enjoyable read, rather than a full expose and document of the area and its problems and happenings.


Week 3- Free Verse/ Formal Poetry reflections


Theatre of the Absurd attempt-

Writing a scene in relation to the theme- “War can make good people do bad things.

Setting- Two soldiers stand in the trench.

A: “Carmichael, Officer Carmichael- and you are?”

B: “Just Fitzgerald, Sir.”

A: “Fitzgerald, assemble a team. We need to strike the boche at midnight.”

B: “Yes sir, who would you like me to gather?”

A: “Anyone new, Fitzgerald.”

B: “Indeed. Young, Sir. Ernest Young.”

A: “Include him, yourself as leader, Dave and Shep.”

B: “Shep, Sir? but he’s still recovering from the last attack sir- can barely walk.”

A: “Good, then he’ll distract the boche- use him as bait.”

B: “You mean…sacrifice Shep for our advantage?”

A: “Yes Fitzgerald. Do it now. No more questions. It’s only one boy.”

Domestic object in an unusual location-

Object- machine gun

Location- operating theatre

A: “What is this?! What is it doing here?!.”

B: “Oh, who cares,  I have been awake 72 hours, they can kill me if they like.”

A: “No! we need to move it before someone gets hurt!”

B: (picks up the weapon and points towards character A, then the patient on the operating table, laughing.)

A: “Stop! Please stop! No!”

B: (points it to his temple then moves, placing it in his mouth.)

A: “Stop! put it down! you are worth more than this.”

B: (places the weapon down where it was found, cackling)

A: (picks up walkie talkie, triggers alarm button then yells) “Come and take him away!”

( Social Theatre verses the Theatre of the Absurd – Bertolt Brecht & Samuel Beckett. How do dramatists comment on society? Can drama change society? Writing absurd and epic scenes from the same stimulus. Defining a debate for your blog and creative exploration )

Dramatists and playwrights comment on society throughout their work as many writers have and continue to do including novelists such as Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and William Blake in the past through to Brecht and Beckett. Drama has the ability to change society through demonstration, a good piece of writing or film can change society permanently in my opinion. Many works fall under this category, with the most recent in my own opinion being Jordan Peele’s directional debut film “Get Out” from 2017, written and directed by Peele. This piece, not only through the writing and genius of Peele, but also rising star Daniel Kaluuyas’ acting, has impacted society on an astronomical scale.


Week 2- A Question of Form

A question of form. What constitutes form and what does it mean to writers, how does it affect meaning, tone and shape content?

The form of a piece of writing is ultimately the structure it adheres to and how it is organised on the page or screen. In poetry especially, writers are able to practice technique by writing in traditional form, as others before them have. An example of this would be practicing writing in Iambic Pentameter, a structure used in poetry by William Shakespeare. By replicating the structure of another writers piece the writer is able to manipulate the intended meaning and overall message of the piece.

For example, works by literary greats such as Shakespeare- tend to stick to complex structures. Readers are then able to identify the works of an individual, without knowing the ownership of a piece, through the replication of these structures. Use of these structures may also portray and demonstrate the knowledge of a writer, as the ability to follow such complex structures and write using these in a complex manner, takes knowledge and intelligence. A piece of writing is likely to be viewed superior to the next if it follows a traditional form, rather than work in note form which may appear to be simple and basic, which may represent the writer behind the work.

The meaning of a piece can also be altered through manipulation of form, such as the difference between writing in prose and blank verse. An example of the manipulation of these forms would be in Shakespeare’s play Othello, Shakespeare uses form to show the difference between two characters within the play- Othello and Iago. Shakespeare’s use of prose and blank verse within his plays portrays the control, or lack of- which a character may have at a particular time within a scene of the play.

The tone of a piece of writing normally follows expectations of the style of writing and to suit the mode, genre, audience and purpose of the piece. The tone can be either objective or subjective, logical and realistic or emotional and romantic, comedic and fictional or intense and non-fictional. The piece can also consist of complex and compound sentences in prose or short simple passages in poetry, prose or script or a variation of both of these.


The tone is able to be adapted to the mode, genre, audience and purpose of the piece. The shape of a piece differs from the form and tone, as it is how the writer themselves shapes and constructs the piece.

In week 1 of Writers on Writing, various forms were introduced including Wabi-Sabi and Beat poetry. An example would be our first excercise which was a list of our current thoughts, followed by going outside downstairs and creating a further list focusing on an item we had seen outside then turning this into a beat poem. These were all spontaneous, allowing for full creative freedom.

List 1 (thoughts)- Euros, exchange places in Middlesbrough, bank, Amsterdam, ferry, ship, food, clock, time, ticking, other people, students, outside, air, roseberry topping, debenhams, walking, car, excercise, itch, restless, inconvenience, soap, toothpaste, implant, thinking about thinking, jobs, lies, trust.

List 2(Outside object)- Tree, branches, twigs, no leaves, winter, how it would be in summer, spring, autumn, transformation, shrub, stump, deforestation, paper, papyrus, The great library of alexandria, arab scholars, rome, disney, epcot, happiness.

Beat poem attempt 1-


Dear eldest branch, may you snap one day as your

Life span is complete, your leaves have bloomed,

Blossomed, you have transformed each season,

Though in each you change, you are a thing of beauty.

Life which produces the most important, paper,

From papyrus which we document on,

Enables us to read, write.

Centrepiece to the garden and building as you are to us,

Who live on earth in this life.





Week 1-Beat Poetry

Attempt at Beat poetry


Dear eldest branch, may you snap one day as your

Life span is complete, your leaves have bloomed,

Blossomed, you have transformed each season,

Though in each you change, you are a thing of beauty.

Life which produces the most important, paper,

From papyrus which we document on,

Enables us to read, write.

Centrepiece to the garden and building as you are to us,

Who live on earth in this life.


Beat Poetry is a movement in American poetry that began in the late 1940’s as a bohemian friendship group in New York, USA comprising of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Willam Burroughs.  They all met through their friendship with Lucien Carr when Ginsberg and Carr were studying at Columbia University.

When the British empire destructed after the second World War, America was about to hit an economic boom. America was in prohibition until the 1930’s when alcohol and drugs were much more heavily available in New York, including drugs such as Heroin.

Between the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in the US, family ideals were made up of heavily religious ideals, mainly Christian with nuclear families with 2.4 children, a dog, house and married parents. A modern example of such ideals would be current Vice President Mike Pence.

The Beats generation turned 18 in around 1945 following various paths from Ginsberg’s accomplishments in achieving the American dream; he worked on Madison Avenue, to the contrasting result for Kerouac who drank himself to death as he hated being a “celebrity”. These three men can be seen as the first literary “celebrities” since Hemmingway and were interested in challenging societal conventions and transgressive writing. They were inspired by the likes of Hemmingway and also Fitzgerald. Kerouac said that they should be called the “Beats generation”.

This movement was also heavily influenced by Jazz clubs in Harlem, usually associated with black folk. The beats viewed Jazz music as a zen-meditation like Tibet Buddhism and enjoyed the beat hint within Jazz music. They started to become inspired and riff off their ideas- writing like a saxophone player plays. Key works of Beat poetry can include “Howl” by Ginsberg, “On The Road” and “The Oherma Bums” by Kerouac and “Junks Over” by Burroughs. The beat legacy and beat influence can be seen in the early rap of the last poets and Gil Scott Heron.

Ginsberg went from being unknown to notorious. Burroughs’ was openly gay and had a party trick to shoot at a glass on his wife’s head- resulting in “accidentally” shooting her in the head and killing her. This saddened him as although they had no romantic connection, they had a strong friendship.

The composition of beat poetry itself is how we can take elements of romanticism and spontaneity. Beat poetry solely is inspired by Jazz Music and writers of the romantic movement such as and including Shelley and Blake who were also rebelling against the intellectualism of the Enlightenment.

In my opinion Beat Poetry is very significant and important to be taught about as it allows free reign with creativity rather than focussing only on the form or structure of a piece of writing, although generally I would not choose to read beat poetry in my free time or write in this style, as I prefer more traditional poetry such as from the romantics.

references- in class workshop, https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-beat-generation-characteristics-of-beat-poetry.html

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